Celebrating the Hunt: Pendleton Whisky and the Spirit of the Backcountry


RMEF proudly continues its impactful partnership with Pendleton Whisky, a bond with a shared commitment to honoring the heritage and essence of the American West, especially in the aftermath of a successful hunt.

Since 2021, Pendleton Whisky has stood as a steadfast ally of RMEF. Pendleton Whisky’s support extends across various channels, from the pages of RMEF’s print and digital platforms to sponsoring RMEF Films and the RMEF Hunter Christmas Expo in Las Vegas. Pendleton also generously donates products to bolster RMEF’s fundraising endeavors, both nationally and locally.

“Our shared dedication to safeguarding the future of elk, wildlife habitats, and our hunting legacy is fortified by the steadfast backing of our members, volunteers, and esteemed conservation partners like Pendleton Whisky,” remarked Steve Decker, RMEF’s Chief Resource Officer. “This collaboration is rooted in a mutual reverence for the Western ethos and the hunting lifestyle, values cherished deeply by both organizations.”

Embracing the Essence of the Backcountry

Emerging from the storied town of Pendleton, Oregon, and bearing the name of the iconic Pendleton Round-Up rodeo, Pendleton Whisky embodies the rugged allure of Western culture. Its velvety, intricate flavor profile pays homage to the unyielding spirit of the American cowboy.

After days of sustenance on freeze-dried fare, relishing fresh meat becomes a necessity. Should you find yourself preparing succulent backstrap by the campfire, Pendleton Original serves as the perfect complement to elevate your fireside feast. This whisky, with its autumnal fruit notes and subtle spice, seamlessly enhances the flavor of your culinary creations. Whether drizzled with a touch of brown sugar or honey, its harmonious blend of sweetness and smokiness transforms a simple meal into a culinary masterpiece, ensuring your comrades reminisce about the experience for years to come.

Reflecting Shared Values

“The resilience and commitment required to conserve elk habitats and uphold wildlife conservation mirror the fundamental principles of Pendleton Whisky,” noted Lander Otegui, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Proximo Spirits. “We hold great admiration for RMEF’s unwavering dedication to supporting elk populations and conservation efforts nationwide and are honored to continue our sponsorship.”

Pendleton Whisky: A Testament to Tradition

Crafted and bottled in Hood River, Oregon, Pendleton Whisky stands as a testament to uncompromising quality and tradition. Utilizing pristine, glacier-fed spring water sourced from Oregon’s majestic Mt. Hood and aged in oak barrels, Pendleton Whisky boasts a sumptuous, multi-dimensional flavor profile and unparalleled smoothness. It proudly serves as the official whisky of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), the Professional Bull Riders (PBR), and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).

For further insights, visit Pendleton Whisky or connect with them on social media via @PendletonWhisky on Facebook and Instagram.

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Eberlestock has been a proud supporter and partner of the RMEF for over 19 years and during that time has contributed over $1.5 million to the Foundation. A large portion of that money was raised through sales of the Team Elk Pack which was originally introduced back in 2013. The Team Elk Pack was recently updated with features that make it an even more capable pack for all types of hunting, especially elk hunting and the heavy pack outs that come with it.

The Team Elk Pack weighs 6.5 pounds and has a volume of 2,567 cubic inches, upgrades include a pack that separates from the frame for hauling meat, enlarged stretch pockets that are easier to access, a redesigned hip belt with more padding for added comfort, and a spacious, floating top lid that extends to assist the pack out.

Other prominent Team Elk pack features are a patented bolt action scabbard, comfortable aluminum frame, updated fabrics and materials, and a hydration sleeve and hook.

“We made improvements in the pack design specifically with the backcountry elk hunter in mind to make it more functional, durable and effective,” said Glen Eberle, long-time RMEF supporter and life member. “By creating an even better hunting pack with our partners at RMEF, we are thrilled to elevate our relationship and continue to give back to a conservation organization we strongly believe in.”

Eberlestock and RMEF unveiled the original Team Elk pack in January 2013, with 10 percent of each Team Elk pack sold contributed directly to RMEF. Since then, sales generated more than $600,000 for RMEF’s mission.

“We have a strong, long-standing friendship and partnership with Glen and Eberlestock,” said Steve Decker, RMEF chief revenue officer. “The Team Elk pack has been a favorite among our members and elk hunters since its inception. Its new modifications and convenient features make it a must-have hunting pack.”

Click here for details about the Team Elk pack.

Eberlestock will be dropping a new elk hunt film this summer featuring the new Team Elk pack, be sure to subscribe to the Eberlestock YouTube channel so you don’t miss the online premiere!



Founded in 1985 and from its original roots in the radical design of Olympic class biathlon racing rifles to current projects, Eberlestock has shown the world how much performance should be expected of outdoor gear. Leading the way as a pioneer, it offers high quality products for the hunter, tactical operator, shooting sports or the hardcore adventure outdoorsman. For more information, go to www.eberlestock.com.

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Innovative Public-Private Partnership Conserves, Improves Elk Management on 6,660 Acres in Southeast Wyoming


MISSOULA, Mont. — A land conservation and access project between Casper and Laramie that dates back over a decade is now closed thanks to a collaborative effort by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and a vested ranching family.

As a result, a combined 6,660 acres of public and private wildlife habitat near the southern Laramie Range Mountains are now conserved and provide managed public hunting access to elk in Hunt Area 7, an area with an expanding elk population and limited hunter access opportunities.

“Though not our preference to hold land, RMEF owned Mule Creek Ranch for nearly two years, but that allowed us the time needed to assess the best conservation and management outcome to conserve its wildlife values,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “Now, we’re happy to announce a solution incorporating conservation-oriented grazing management and hunting access in coordination with elk movements and nearby ranches.”

WGFD will own 2,660 acres on the western part of the property and oversee it as a wildlife habitat management area. It includes public access parking, corrals, water and power sources, and Greater Sage-grouse priority habitat.

Approximately 4,000 eastern acres are now owned and managed by 88 Ranch, a family with a proven history in the area that values wildlife conservation and public access to hunting. WGFD holds a voluntary conservation agreement (conservation easement) on this acreage that also includes public hunting access.

In 2015, RMEF and WGFD created a 15-year hunting access agreement with the previous ranch owners while seeking a permanent conservation solution. This latest transaction supersedes that agreement, thus creating permanent hunting access going forward. Our partners at Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust (WWNRT) and Knobloch Family Foundation provided funding for the voluntary conservation agreement on the 88 Ranch-owned parcel to help bring this project over the finish line.

What They’re Saying about the Mule Creek Ranch Project:

“The Mule Creek Purchase is an extraordinary example of how an ordinary ranching family can achieve the goal of expanding ranching operations by working with such entities as WGFD and RMEF. We have been able to achieve the goals of protecting crucial habitat into perpetuity, gaining public hunting access and allowing our family to continue ranching on the land we so love. I believe if this kind of thought process could gain traction, we could help promote our agricultural families, permanently conserve our rangeland habitat and allow our hunters across this great nation a place to hunt. It is a win for so many and a dream come true for the 88 Ranch,” said Garrett Henry, 88 Ranch owner.

“RMEF has been an amazing partner for conservation and public access and has worked collaboratively with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department on a multitude of projects. The Mule Creek Ranch project is a shining example of a successful effort from a public and private partnership to provide perpetual habitat conservation and public access opportunities in an area where elk populations have been difficult to manage.   This project would not have been possible without the generous contributions from RMEF, The Knobloch Family Foundation, and WWNRT,” said Roy Weber, WGFD land branch chief.

“We’re grateful for WGFD and Garrett Henry and family of the 88 Ranch who, together, achieved a scenario that brings about long-term conservation and wildlife-focused management through a public/private management approach for the benefit of all,” added Weaver.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:   

Founded in 1984 and fueled by hunters, RMEF has conserved more than 8.9 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation” ® at rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.

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Meet Your New Regional Directors


Get to know two of the newest members of RMEF’s Field Staff: Tyler Wetterau and Dameon Metzger


Name: Tyler Wetterau

State/Region: Northern Wisconsin

Family (two-legged or four): Wife: Monique, Daughter: Sage, Son: Slade, Dog: Willow

Favorite outdoor activities: Hunting, fishing and golf

Why did you want to work for RMEF: I wanted to make a difference in the future of elk and other wildlife in our state. That way, my children can have an even better opportunity to hunt the animals we love so much.





Name: Dameon Metzger

State/Region: Michigan

Family (two-legged or four): Wife Jennifer of almost 21 years, 17-year-old son Dylan and 15-year-old son Wyatt

Favorite outdoor activities: hunting and fishing

Goals for your state/region: Grow Michigan to be a top state in East region, expand the number of chapters and get more volunteer involvement in work projects.

Why did you want to work for RMEF: To conserve all of God’s creation for my son’s and future generations.

Anything else you want to say? I am very excited to be working for RMEF and the amazing volunteers we have within the organization and I look forward to getting the RMEF name and mission out to all areas of Michigan.

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Work Project Calendar


Interested in attending an RMEF work project? Keep an eye out for upcoming opportunities near you!

Washington Oak Creek Wildlife Area Work Party

May 31 & June 1 near Naches, WA

For more information, contact Dan Paulson at 425-275-1975


Michigan RMEF Spring Work Project

June 1 near Atlanta, MI

For more information, contact Clint Salisbury at 734-347-1165


Missouri State Volunteer Work Project & Rendezvous

June 1 near Eminence, MO

For more information, contact Eric Brown at 785-466-3398


Washington Mt. St. Helens Mudflow Work Party

June 7-8 near Toutle, WA

For more information, contact Rodger Wallace at 360-274-8404


Nevada Little Sheldon Fence Project

June 7 at the Sheldon Wildlife Refuge

For more information, contact Deanna Ackerman at 775-567-8041


Washington Asotin Work Party

June 14-16 near Asotin, WA

For more information, contact Terri Atkinson at 509-991-4669


Oregon Walla Walla District of the Umatilla National Forest Project

June 15 near Pendleton, OR

For more information, contact Tim Campbell at 541-379-6612


Oregon All Hands All Brands Work Project

June 21 near Deep Creek, OR

For more information, contact Elly Young: 541-420-5485


Idaho/Montana Hiawatha Trail Wire Pull

June 26 near Mullan, ID

For more information, contact Karee Head at 208-301-0386


Utah State Water Guzzler Work Project

June 29 near Richfield, UT

For more information, contact Ron Camp at 801-859-3474


Nevada Elk Guzzler Re-Build

June 29 near Ely, NV

For more information, contact Deanna Ackerman at 775-567-8041


Colorado Weston Pass Volunteer Fence Project

July 13 near Fairplay, CO

For more information, contact John Sand at 719-429-5124


Washington Turnbull National Wildlife Work Party

July 13 near Cheney, WA

For more information, contact Terri Atkinson at 509-991-4669


Colorado Kremmling BLM Fence Project

July 27 near Kremmling, CO

For more information, contact Jerry Pelis at jwdp43@comcast.net


Washington Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Work Party

August 8 near Colville, WA

For more information, contact Jill Ruscitto at (509) 220-8293


Colorado Golden Gate Canyon State Park

August 10 near Golden, CO

For more information, contact Stephen Winslow at smw2206@columbia.edu


Michigan Elk County Rendezvous/Work Weekend

September 7 near Wolverine, MI

For more Information, contact Clint Salisbury at 734-347-1165

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April/May 2024 Advocacy Update


State Updates


Over 200 RMEF members submitted recommendations to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission as it considered finalists for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife director position. The members encouraged the selection of a leader who understands and embraces the North American Model of Wildlife Management, including an appreciation for the role that hunters and anglers play in the social and economic success of the agency, as well as a leader who understands and is guided by the scientific research and data that sustains healthy populations of game and nongame wildlife. In the end the commission voted unanimously to select ODFW veteran Dr. Debbie Colbert, who by all accounts meets the criteria sought by RMEF.


Senator Robin Webb was selected as the recipient of the RMEF Excellence in Advocacy Award at a ceremony in April. Senator Webb played a key role in securing the permanent establishment of the 55,000-acre Ataya-Cumberland Forest Wildlife Management Area in the heart of Kentucky’s elk zone and has advocated for sportsmen and women in Kentucky and nationally through leadership of the National Association of Sportsmen’s Caucuses and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

In May, RMEF submitted official comments supporting a vegetation management project in the Daniel Boone National Forest, and RMEF members submitted additional comments by participating in an RMEF call-to-action. Environmental activists and old-growth proponents oppose the project to create forest openings and mixed age forests that will benefit elk, rugged grouse and other wildlife that depend on early seral forests.


The Colorado session ended May 8, and as this piece was going to press some bills had not yet been signed or vetoed by the governor.

When introduced in January SB131 would have prohibited firearms on most state property including state wildlife areas. The bill was amended to apply only to legislative property (the Capitol), local government governing body offices (city council, county commissions) and courthouses. It passed and was sent to the Governor who is expected to sign it.

HB1292 was a new attempt to ban “assault weapons,” an effort ruled unconstitutional in the past. It was defeated in committee.

SB 171 authorizes the CPW to reintroduce wolverines but requires the state to receive flexibility from the feds through an Endangered Species Act 10j nonessential experimental population classification. RMEF has some concerns that environmental extremists will use the wolverine’s threatened status to block future forest management activity, but wolverines, as scavengers, are not of concern to elk and deer populations. The legislation went to the governor who is expected to sign it.

RMEF strongly supported SB126 to renew and expand conservation easement tax credits. RMEF staff testified twice before legislative committees and our contract lobbyists worked to protect this valuable private lands conservation tool. The bill passed and went to the governor.

SB26 was signed into law and will require Colorado Parks and Wildlife commissioners to meet with the stakeholder groups they are appointed to represent, including the commissioner who ostensibly represents “sportsmen.”

Two animal rights ballot measures for the city and county of Denver will be on the ballot this November. One will ban the sale of fur in Denver and the other will ban slaughterhouses. Both are being pushed by the same animal rights organization. The fur ban would impact sheared beaver felt cowboy hats as well as common fly-tying components.

HB1349 would drastically raise taxes on guns and ammunition in mockery of the Pittman-Robertson federal excise tax with most of the money dedicated to an amorphous victims fund. This bill was amended several times but was finally passed and will be on the November ballot since it constitutes a tax increase. The measure would create an added 6.5% tax on the retail sales of firearms, firearm precursor parts and ammunition.



Endangered Species Lawsuit

In April, the Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society of the U.S. and other litigious activist organizations filed a lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to put wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains back on the Endangered Species List. The federal judge accepted RMEF’s filing to intervene in the case along with Sportsmen’s Alliance and Safari Club International. RMEF attorneys will argue in defense of the science that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the states use to sustainable manage wolves.

Farm Bill

RMEF’s government affairs team spent more than a year working on reauthorization of the  Farm Bill by encouraging members of the U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Committees to include a targeted list of priorities that align with RMEF’s mission. After months of inaction, both the House and Senate committees recently released frameworks detailing the policies and priorities to be included in their respective versions of the Farm Bill. House Agriculture Committee Chairman GT Thompson announced a goal of passing the bill out of committee by Memorial Day.

RMEF commends the committees for taking this important first step and encourages both chambers to work collaboratively to pass a Farm Bill in the coming months that advances the interests of sportsmen and women.

Hunting groups like RMEF are focused on the Farm Bill because it contains the policies and funding for the majority of the private land conservation programs used by farmers and ranchers to protect habitat, as well as the programs that incentivize maintaining the intact, working private forestlands that support wildlife.

The Farm Bill expires every five years and is a massive legislative package comprising 12 titles that address a wide array of agriculture and conservation programs. RMEF is focused on its conservation and forestry titles. Row crop farmers and ranchers generally focus on the commodities, trade and crop insurance titles. The most expensive part of the bill is the “nutrition” title, which has grown sharply since the pandemic and is now estimated to be 82% of the $1.4 billion dollar baseline budget.

RMEF’s priorities for the conservation title include:

  • Authorization and adequate funding for a Forest Conservation Easement Program (FCEP) that prioritizes working forests and those managed for wildlife.
  • Reauthorization and expansion of the Voluntary Public Access Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) that supports states’ private land, walk-in access programs.
  • Adequate funding for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) and encouraging their use for big game migratory corridor conservation and reforming eligibility requirements to increase landowner participation.

There are also several policy reforms that RMEF looks to include in the Farm Bill:

  • Expand existing authorities like the Good Neighbor Authority to incentivize and enable cross-boundary, active forest management projects through collaborative partnerships.
  • Streamline and expedite active forest management projects through reduced litigation, expanded categorical exclusions and reversing the Cottonwood

Both the House and Senate Agriculture committees look poised to mark up their Farm Bill versions in the coming weeks. While the initial frameworks appear promising, RMEF will continue to diligently advocate for wildlife conservation and sportsmen priorities.


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Volunteers Make an Impact in the Volunteer State


We may be biased, but we think the real reason Tennessee is called the “Volunteer State” is because of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers that work tirelessly to ensure the prosperity of the state’s growing elk herd. Expanding from a herd of 50 individuals when RMEF was integral in reintroducing an elk herd to the state in 2000, to the roughly 400 animals that roam the hills these days, Tennessee is a fantastic demonstration of the potential of eastern elk reintroductions. The success of the herds would not be possible without committed RMEF volunteers that give their time and talents to conserving elk and elk country. Here are a few recent projects, made possible, in part, by commendable fundraising efforts and on the ground help from volunteers.

Elk Take Flight

As with any big-game animal, having an intimate understanding of the factors that influence elk populations is critical for informing management. And sometimes, that work requires the use of helicopters. In Tennessee, researchers with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, University of Tennessee and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources are teaming up to monitor calf mortality within Tennessee’s herds. Thanks to $842,662 in funding provided by RMEF and other conservation partners, researchers were able to capture cows with the use of helicopters and implant transmitters to know when calves hit the ground. Upon birth, the calves will be fitted with collars of their own. Their new piece of jewelry will monitor them over the course of their lives. It’s the hope that these calves live to grow old, but if they don’t, the collars will allow researchers to better understand the factors that limit the growth of the population. Funding for projects like this is generated by volunteers from throughout the state’s five chapters. Through hosting banquets and other fundraising events, volunteers generate critical funding to support the work of biologists who are committed to fostering health among the state’s elk.

Room with a View

Seeing the need to open up more areas for the recently established elk herd, RMEF helped purchase 74,000 acres of critical elk habitat north of Knoxville in 2002. The site, which became known as the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area, is rich with elk that will benefit from newly improved forage thanks to a new RMEF initiative that is being backed by volunteer support. RMEF has continued its commitment to improving elk country within this popular area for elk viewing by trucking in tons of seed and fertilizer to benefit these herds. To keep the newly planted oats, wheat, winter peas and clover producing bounties for years to come, RMEF volunteers will put in work. “The work doesn’t stop when the seed is planted,” says RMEF Regional Director Drew Parker. “RMEF volunteers will help maintain this forage by assisting with mowing, invasive weed treatment, and re-seeding, as necessary. Our phenomenal volunteers are eager to get in on the action to help maintain these spaces.” After working, volunteers can kick their feet up and watch the elk enjoy these spaces from the incredibly popular Hatfield Knob viewing tower.

Improving Access

No group of people rallies quite like enthusiastic Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers when it comes to improving elk habitat and passing on hunting heritage. In 2023, Tennessee’s chapters generated over $162,000 in net revenue to support the mission of the RMEF. These funds are then allocated to projects such as purchasing tracts of land, with the most recent example in the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. RMEF threw financial support behind other conservation partners to help purchase an 850-acre parcel (see photo above) that will improve public access in the state’s elk zone.

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Statewide Volunteer Gatherings


Statewide RMEF volunteer events take place across the country. These gatherings help unite volunteers within a state and are great networking and learning opportunities for those who take part. Below, we will take a closer look at events being conducted in some states and share what opportunities and ideas are worth exploring.

State/Regional Workshop

State and regional workshops allow volunteers and staff to gather and learn about various topics specific to the needs of those participants. These annual volunteer gatherings should consist of training, motivating, leading, educating and sharing wins and accomplishments, awards and recognition, as well as team building. State leaders can invite select chapter leaders or key volunteers to attend these workshops. For example, there are several states that invite chapter chairs and co-chairs to attend, but in other cases any volunteer can attend. Many states hold these workshops either early or late in the banquet year, while others hold their meetings mid-year along with a rendezvous or work project.

Below are some ideas to present and discuss during these workshops:

  • Mission updates
  • New fundraising ideas
  • Set goals for your state
  • Share chapter and volunteer success
  • State chapter award presentations- set criteria and present awards for specific categories
  • Build relationships and network with fellow chapters and volunteers

A state rendezvous is a great opportunity to gather volunteers for a fun and productive weekend. It may be best described as an RMEF camping weekend with some fun, food, meetings and built-in celebrations. These can be planned as free for attendees, or if necessary, for a small registration fee. The locations for a rendezvous can also vary greatly. At times, some are held on public land at an undeveloped site. At other times, a more established facility like a rural fairground or buildings can be rented or used. A sample agenda for a rendezvous is below:

Friday Evening: Attendee arrival

  • Welcome BBQ dinner
  • Cornhole tournament


  • Work project
  • Volunteer roundtable meeting
  • Presentations by volunteers and staff
  • Mission updates
  • Presentations from state or local agency contacts

Saturday Night Fun Night:

  • Raffles and silent auction (to help cover rendezvous cost)
  • Potluck or dessert competition
  • Special presentations

A rendezvous is a great opportunity to gather volunteers for a fun weekend together. The relationships built and things that are learned can be beneficial for all who attend. 


Work Projects

RMEF work projects are a great opportunity to get volunteers in the field and give them a chance to make a direct, mission-related impact. Work projects may take place in elk country but do have to be limited to those locations. There are projects that can be conducted in non-elk states and areas that benefit other wildlife. Not only do work projects bring volunteers together, but they are also an opportunity to bring in new volunteers.

Some examples of work projects are:

  • Fence removal
  • Trailhead maintenance or cleanup
  • Wildlife management area maintenance
  • Tree planting
  • Conifer encroachment removal
  • Removing abandoned junk or old buildings
  • Noxious weed removal
  • Wildlife-friendly fence building
  • Building water developments for wildlife
  • Public land gun range cleanup

RMEF has tools and processes available through EMS to help promote and recruit volunteers to those work projects. By doing this, work projects will also be listed on rmef.org/volunteer.


Statewide volunteer gatherings offer an opportunity to bring volunteers together. Anytime we can strengthen relationships among chapters and volunteers within the state, doing so will help educate, inspire and energize staff and volunteers to do more for the mission.


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Hosting Secondary Fundraising Events


The more funds generated by your chapter, the more there is to spend on the mission in your state! Many chapters are currently hosting secondary fundraising events, which are as simple or complicated as they choose to make them. When considering which type of event to host, you must consider which best fits your chapter, committee and potential attendees. You must choose an event that your committee and attendees will be excited to host and attend.

Gun Fest/Gun Bash Events

These events are based around a higher cost raffle and typically have 1-in-5 odds of winning, with a $200-250 ticket cost. A minimum number of tickets must be sold, with an appropriate ratio of prizes given out. If more than the minimum number of tickets are sold, more firearms can be added. For example, 100 tickets can be sold for $250 each and 20 prizes/firearms purchased at an average cost of $500 per item. If possible, these tickets should be sold prior to your event. If sold out, the raffle will gross $25,000 and net $15,000. When the raffle is conducted, the lowest valued item is drawn first and the person whose name is drawn can either:

  1. Take the item and their ticket is removed from the bucket.
  2. Take the item, buy back into the raffle for $250 and their ticket remains in the bucket.
  3. Or don’t take the item and their ticket remains in the bucket and another winner is drawn for the prize.

In addition to this raffle, secondary raffles are also held. For some events, a small silent auction can also be conducted as well as other popular banquet activities. These events are typically held on a weeknight with only a handful of volunteers needed to help run them. Appetizers are often provided for those who buy tickets. Additional food and beverages are available for purchase. The event does not require a long night out and is often completed within a two-hour time frame. It is simple for a committee because its planning and execution does not require much detail. However, there is a need for both a chair and ticket chair to help with planning and pre-event ticket sales. These events often net $15,000 to $30,000, depending on the number of tickets sold and the number of added fundraising opportunities that accompany the primary raffle.

Ladies Night Out Events

These events include a lot of the same features as a normal banquet but are for only female attendees. Most ladies night out events include live and silent auctions, games, raffles and dinner. Everything is catered to women attendees, including selected merchandise and firearms, as well as how some of the games and raffles are presented. There is often a theme that accompanies all activities and attendees are encouraged to dress with that in mind. Some examples of themes are the Roaring Twenties, masquerade ball, black dress, luau, ladies of the 80s, and boots and bling. Men are not allowed to take part as attendees but may volunteer to help with raffles, games or auctions. The goal for a ladies night out event is a minimum of 100 attendees. Some of these gatherings host as many as 500 attendees. These events should generate at least $15,000 net but have potential to raise more than $75,000 with a big enough crowd. When looking for donors, seek out those who will benefit from a female-only audience.       

Donor & Event Sponsor Appreciation Events

A donor appreciation event is a great way to invite your chapter’s best supporters and thank them for their generosity. It also allows you to supply more information about RMEF’s mission and how their support makes a positive impact. Life members, sponsors, donors and auction buyers may be invited to participate. Often, a low-cost meal or appetizers are provided as a thank you and there is no charge for attendance. These events often include a fundraising aspect but should be much different from a banquet. Fundraising should be presented as an opportunity, not as an expectation. A few raffles and small silent and live auctions (around 10 items) may be appropriate.


If you are interested in adding a ladies night out or other secondary event for your chapter, contact your regional director.

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2024 RMEF Volunteer Summit Review


Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers and staff met in Missoula, Montana, in early May 2024 for the second-ever RMEF Volunteer Summit. It took place just before the celebration of RMEF’s 40-year anniversary with various volunteers and staff from across the country attending. The summit allowed volunteers and staff the opportunity to share ideas and explore solutions for the most common challenges faced by volunteers and chapters.

The structure of these meetings utilized a focus group format, with about 15 people in each group, made up of chapter volunteers, state chairs, regional directors and field operations leadership. A group facilitator led the discussions and a recorder documented them. Topics included volunteer recruitment, chapter growth, increasing event attendance, chapter leadership and how to make more of an impact for RMEF’s mission.

“The Volunteer Summit helps those in attendance to network and learn from one another,” said Jared Wold, RMEF volunteer program director. “The challenges for one chapter may not be the same for another and this meeting platform allows our volunteers and field staff to work together, brainstorm ideas and create solutions to move the mission forward.”

The volunteer summit will continue in future years but is limited and by invitation only.

The topics discussed and notes recorded will be featured as upcoming RMEF Volunteer Newsletter articles. Volunteer summit topics are also available within the RMEF Event Management System (EMS) (accessible to chapter leadership), under the “Resources” tab in the “Volunteer Resource Articles” folder.

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